Archive for January, 2018

Surprise inhabitants

Posted in Gardening, Journal at 21:08

Peat winch, Lofoten, Norway

Just over two years ago, not long after breaking my wrist, I moved into a new place in a Parisian suburb that has a lovely garden. My first January in it, a few bluebells sprouted. A year later, half a dozen bluebells grew in the same spot – I reminded myself I had better think to dig up the bulbs and divide them, but I didn’t until this January.

While it only looked like about a dozen sprouts above ground, this was what I ended up with. I potted several, planted others in a decorative row, still others in a sunny corner patch, and the remainder went into their original spot in front of my kitchen doors.

The wee leafy plant is a young spider plant (also known as “airplane plant” in the States). It’s a trippy (non-toxic) one for cats, and as soon as it’s large enough will become a swatting toy for the furballs.

Paris gets colder and grayer than Nice in winter, but I’ve enjoyed it ever since coming up here. It reminds me of home; cold, damp winters and my favorite, fog. There’s nothing quite like fog over the Seine, crossing swans here and there, listening to geese honk along it, and saying “hello” to the crows who hop around searching for bugs in foliage.

Greetings 2018

Posted in Biographical, Journal at 12:59

Peat winch, Lofoten, Norway

“Truth can appear as disaster in a land of things unspoken.”
Joy Harjo, “The Naming”, in The Woman Who Fell From The Sky

2017 was the year in which I was finally able to weave in loose ends. This is a meme I’ve done for seven years: at the end of 2009, the end of 2010, the end of 2011, the very start of 2013 for 2012, the end of 2013, and remembering the year 2014. In 2015 I had broken my arm at the end of the year, followed by a wild 2016; a lot of the effects of those two years can be seen in 2017.

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
Visited Norway. The photo here is of a peat winch in the fog up there. I also started a new job, travelled to London for work, and rented my place in Nice.

In 2016 I ran races for the first time since high school – 5K and 10K, and I did a second 10K early in 2017.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Staring in 2013, my resolution has been to “act from a place of inner peace.” It’s proven to be an excellent resolution, including in times when peace is hard to come by. When you’ve become attuned to your own peace, it’s easier to see toxic situations for what they are and take appropriate steps.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends, yes. Adorable babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, a dear childhood friend and her children, quite tragically. Also my sweet Susu the soot sprite.

5. What countries did you visit?
France, Belgium, Norway, England (just London though)

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
New furniture! Everything else is great, which is nice to be able to say.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Starting the new job and visiting Norway. My new job has been a collection of enriching experiences, and Norway was indescribably wonderful.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
A lot of career achievements. I won’t talk about them online other than to say I’m happy.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Taking on more than I could chew at times.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
None in 2016 or 2017, apart from a flu in December that treated me kindly all told.
In October of 2015 I broke my right arm (I’m right-handed) while roller skating. It healed well and I recovered most of my mobility, though it still aches from time to time.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Plane and train tickets

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Friends’; the kind people I’ve worked with.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
This is one I’ve said for years now: xenophobia and racism. Given the context in the US, it’s sobering to read what I wrote in 2013 and 2014: “‘there’s always some here and there, but for whatever reason, [2013] seemed quite pronounced.’ Well, 2014 unfortunately added to that.” We’re all human and different in our own ways. We need to remember that.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel and home improvement – finally got work done on my place in Nice, which helped find renters.

15. What did you get really, really excited about?
Meeting people in Norway – it was lovely.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Very much happier.
b) thinner or thicker? Same!
c) richer or poorer? Richer, for which I’m grateful.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
It was a very fulfilling year – I met wonderful people, knit, ran, enjoyed the cats, gardened, cooked… The only thing I still haven’t done and want to do is get back to sewing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Knitting with the cats. Highly recommended.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I finally got a Netflix subscription and enjoyed “The Crown”, “Alias Grace” and “Black Mirror”.

23. What was the best book you read?
“The Famished Road” by Ben Okri

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Frame drumming

25. What did you want and get?
New job, renters for my place in Nice, happy cats.

26. What did you want and not get?
It would feel strange to ask for more, and that’s how I looked at things throughout the year. 2017 was abundant on a personal level.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
Absolutely 100% without a doubt “Wonder Woman“. One of my favorite movies ever.

28. What did you do on your birthday?

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
2017 was very satisfying as is.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Understated but colorful.

31. What kept you sane?
Knitting, music, friends and the cats.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Equality and tolerance.

33. Who did you miss?
Faraway friends

34. Who was the best new person you met?
They’re all unique and neat people.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017:
Listening is powerful.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Tout mais pas l’indifférence” – Jean-Jacques Goldman